Army Life – The Big Day – Announcements – November, 1943

This appeared in the South Pasadena Review in November, 1943, announcing Marian Irwin’s engagement to Alfred Guion.


Mr. and Mrs. Mowry A. Irwin

announce the marriage of their daughter



Mr. Alfred P. Guion

Army of the United States

on Sunday, the fourteenth of November

Nieteen hundred and forty-three

Berkeley, California



Army Life – Dear Dad (May I?) – Marian’s First Letter to Grandpa – November, 1943

Today, we read Marian’s first letter to Grandpa. She tells him a little bit more about herself and the wedding plans, but her bright and cheerful personality shines through.

Friday –

Dear “Dad” (May I?)

Thank you so much for your thoughtful letter. I really feel as tho’ I do know you, because Al has told me quite a bit about you. Getting really acquainted however, is impossible by letter, so I, too, am looking forward to the time when I can meet you personally and we can compare “facts and figures”. Let’s hope that that time won’t be very far away.

I started this letter last night, but Al came over so I know you’ll understand when I say, “I just couldn’t get it finished! I tried but —-.” Anyway, I’m glad, now, that I waited, for I have the added pleasure of hearing from you, and somehow that makes you just that much closer.

Thank you, too, for having such a wonderful son. I know we agree fully on all the fine qualities he has – I don’t need to tell you how very nice he really is, but, even tho’ you’ve known him longer than I have, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he’s the one I’ve been waiting for. And may I say a word right here, to Aunt Betty. “Thank you so much for your good wishes. Your opinion of Lad only confirmed what I felt all along. Someday soon, Aunt Betty, we’ll get together and compare notes for I imagine we’ll agree on quite a number of things.”

I don’t know how much Al has told you about me. I haven’t led a very eventful life but I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. I am the oldest of

Marian, Don, Margaret and Homer Irwin

Marian, Don, Margaret and Homer Irwin

four children, two boys and two girls. One brother and my sister are married, and living in or near Berkeley. My youngest brother is in his second year at California (University of) and is living at home. “Home” is Orinda – a glorified country club, at one time, but is now a residential section with about three stores at the main intersection. Dad works for the Westinghouse Electric Supply Company in Oakland. All of his relatives, except his father who is here in California, are from the East, but I believe almost all of them are in Pennsylvania. Most of Mother’s family are here in California, about one hundred miles from where we live. It’s quite a tribe we have, and all of us have been quite close. Cousins have grown up together, Before the war we always went to my Grandmother’s for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mother’s Day, and we lived close enough so that we could see each other over weekends and other holidays, too. When we all get together there are about 40 or 45 of us, so you can imagine what a time we must have. And we all love it! I know they’re going to take to Lad immediately – as a matter of fact  – who doesn’t ? – And I hope he won’t be too floored by meeting so many “in-laws” the very first thing. Seems to me I’m supposed to introduce them gradually, but they are all so nice, I don’t think they’ll floor him!

I went to Berkeley High School and then across the bay to San Francisco State College. I taught school for five years – loved it but decided I wanted something different – so I am now the Camp Fire Girls Executive in South Pasadena. I love it, and will continue working after we are married – but only until Lad gets out of the Army. Then I’ll stop, with pleasure, and we can concentrate on such things as a family and getting really acquainted and besides- I’ve got to learn how to cook! Oh, I can manage to fry an egg or cook a vegetable, but I want to be able to do a really good job of it. You know, be famous for a special cake or a delicious stew etc.!

Lad probably told you that we were being married on Sunday, November 14th, (U.S. Gov’t permitting!) at Berkeley. The reception will be right afterwards for family and those friends who have the gas to drive out! I will be married in a suit, and we are having a double ring ceremony. I do wish you could be there, but will certainly be thinking of you all day long.

Seems to me I’ve rambled on enough. There are still lots of things I’d like to say, but I can’t put them all in one letter. All write again, very soon, and give you more details.

My very best wishes to you and Aunt Betty. It won’t be very long before we meet each other.

With love,


Tomorrow, another letter from Marian to Grandpa. On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Next week, I’ll be posting letters written in 1945. Dan and Paulette are married but having a hard time seeing each other because Dan travels near and far with his work for the Cemetery Registration Division. Both Lad and Dick are (mostly) home with their wives. Ced is still in Anchorage, Alaska, and Dave in in Manila, The Philippines, counting the months until he can come home. 

Judy Guion

Trumbull – Dear Halloween Pranksters (2) – News From Dan and Lad – October, 1943

page 2   10/31/43

The next letter in chronological order is from Dan. He starts out by saying it seems like his lot to miss the most interesting parts of the air raids — he has not yet even heard a piece of flak fall. “But the other day I witnessed another type of “warfare”. Two men and two ferrets were exterminating a rabbit colony in Wimbledon common. For the occasion the men were dressed in riding habits complete with black “Bowler” hats. They were armed with several nets and two ferrets — these animals look like white rats with a long wheel base. The nets were staked down over all the entrances and exits of the rabbit colony. Then the ferrets were given the signal to advance. Down the holes they went. Minutes passed. Suddenly one of the nets bounced up in the air with a flurry of brown fur. One of the men sprang toward it and seized it in his hands. Deftly he extricated a rabbit from the meshes, broke its neck and thrust the limp form into a sack. Soon a ferret reappeared and was promptly introduced into another hole. A questioning of the pseudo-nimrods revealed the following facts. Ferrets are raised by breeders who “bring out the beast in them” to be most effective in flushing rabbits. Finished products cost from 15 “bob” (shillings) to L 1. Naughty ferrets sometimes bite the hand that picks it up. Other undisciplined characters commit mayhem on its victims underground, leaving the exasperated hunter tapping his foot impatiently for an hour or two while the ferrets enjoys a subterranean banquet (or as one of the salacious Yanks suggested, the ferrets having heard of the reputation of rabbits, as he approaches his victim, “Put out or get out, rabbit!” thus explaining the long delay). Ferrets, while not on active duty, consume chicken heads or bread and milk, better results being obtained by the chicken heads. I learned later that the practice of ferreting is illegal, but, what with the scarcity of meat, officials are prone to overlook infractions of this law.

Lad’s letter is dated October 25th. He writes that he and Marian (spelled with an “a”) are to be married at the ”Little Chapel of the Flowers” in Berkeley on the afternoon of November 14th. He will, of course, wear his uniform. A Presbyterian minister of Marian’s choice will tie the knot. Lad is trying to secure a 7-day leave but thinks it will more likely be a 3-day pass. Financially, with their combined income and a budget, they expect to get by in good shape (at the time Lad wrote he had not received my letter telling him his Venezuelan Petroleum stock, which I had bought in 1940 for $75, skyrocketed, so that it is now worth $1100. Ain’t that sumpin’?)

To complete the record, I may as well give you Dick’s address, but if you don’t have any better luck hearing from him than I do, it won’t be much use writing him with any hope of a reply.

As Lad’s wedding date draws near, I have to fight a rising desire to throw caution to the wind and depart for Berkeley. It would mean closing the office (which, in the present circumstances, would mean going out of business permanently), leaving Aunt Betty with the entire burden of shopping, cooking, etc., to say nothing of the difficulties of civilian travel these days (and of course, the cost). So I’ll let my brain rule my heart and stay home.


Tomorrow and Friday, two letters from Marian to Grandpa.

On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.

Judy Guion

Special Picture # 243 – South Pasadena Hospitality Center – 1943

For the next few weekends, I’ll be posting Special Pictures. These are photos that do not pertain directly to the letters I’m posting but are unique and interesting so I want to share them. Enjoy.

This is a picture I just found of the South Pasadena Hospitality Center in South Pasadena, California, where Lad and Marian met and began dating. This was taken during the summer of 1943. 


Tomorrow, another Special Picture.

On Monday I’ll begin a week of letters written in 1945. Lad and Dick are home. Dan is in France with his bride – and the Army. Ced is still in Anchorage, Alaska, and Dave is in Manila, the Philippines.

Judy Guion